#childsafety | Expert Advice on Violent Autistic Outbursts After Teen Stands Up to Brother

A teenager who “fought back” against their “incredibly violent” autistic older brother has received support from users on Reddit, where a post sharing the incident received over 10,000 upvotes at the time of writing.

Several Redditors told the original poster it’s “not your fault” and that the parents have “failed” the children.

The latest Reddit post underscores the “significant need for effective crisis intervention options” accessible to the autistic community, a spokesperson for the Autism Society of America told Newsweek.

In a post shared on the r/TrueOffMyChest subreddit, the 16-year-old (under the username Ok_Pizza740) said their 19-year-old “barely verbal” autistic brother, who was described as having the mental capacity of a 6- or 7-year-old child, is “incredibly violent and demanding” and will “lash out” if you “do not conform to his demands.”

In this stock image a young boy holds his hands to his face. A teenager who “fought back” against their “incredibly violent” autistic older brother has received a wave of support from users on Reddit.
iStock/Getty Images Plus

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a “developmental disability caused by differences in the brain” that can see a person “behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people,” explains the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those with ASD often have problems with social communication and interaction and most have other related characteristics (such as hyperactivity, impulsive, and/or inattentive behavior and a lack of fear), says the CDC.

The Autism Society of America says: “Within the autism community, it is largely understood that ‘all behavior is communication’ and that dangerous behaviors—towards one’s self or others—are often a signal of underlying unmet needs.”

The spokesperson said that these needs can be difficult to identify and typically require a multi-disciplinary approach to be met. School and residential staff, hospital workers and law enforcement receive formal training in crisis prevention, de-escalation and “least-restrictive, non-violent physical intervention,” the spokesperson explained, adding that many homes do not have access to adequate or appropriate training, resources and support.

“While no two individuals or families will share identical circumstances, there are many families globally whose need for support far exceeds what they have access to in their communities and homes. Issues of physical behavior and self-harm are both critical areas of need among individuals with autism and their loved ones,” the spokesperson said.

The user who shared the Reddit post, as well as their sister, are “terrified” of their older brother, who seems to “single me out with his violence,” the user said.

He said that his family had had to deal with support services “dozens of times” over the years, the most distressing occasion being last year when his sister went to school with “bruises all over her chest” following one of his brother’s tantrums

Despite being told by Ok_Pizza740 that his brother is “ruining all of our lives,” his parents allegedly “turn a blind eye to the state we all live in for his benefit,” he said, while having “some bizarre unrealistic optimism about him.”

Last week, the user “lost it” and ” finally retaliated” after the brother started to pester his sister, who called out for their dad, before the brother “hit her.”

When Ok_Pizza740 tried to separate the sister and brother, he claimed: “[My brother] grabbed my hair and slammed my head into the wall…the next thing I know I was pinned to the ground by my dad as I heard my brother screaming bloody murder…I knocked out his front tooth, loosened a few others, and split his lip open.”

The two younger siblings are staying with their grandparents, while the grandfather called child protection services on the parents and is refusing to let his two grandchildren return home.

“I feel so numb right now. I don’t feel bad for what I did and don’t know If I should. My grandmother has told me at least once every hour it’s not my fault and they will protect me no matter what,” the user said.

Several Redditors have shown support for the user, including jersey5b who said: “A person can take only so much adversity before [retaliating]. If he’s 19 years old and this is your first time then you’ve been extremely patient over the years…I hope you and your sister will overcome this.”

User m_cardoso wrote: “I don’t know how autism works, but nobody should go through the things you’re going. You were protecting your sister (and yourself) and you should feel proud about it. This situation is NOT your fault and you have the right to snap considering everything.”

They added: “Maybe this will make your parents reflect on how they should behave with your brother.”

BackgroundPlant1670 agreed that “it’s absolutely not your fault!,” noting “Your parents are to blame for this situation. They have to take responsibility,” in a comment that got 2,000 upvotes.

A number of other Redditors agreed that the parents had failed Ok_Pizza740 and his siblings.

User paintcounting: “Also remember that your parents have failed you and your little sister. They should do everything they can to protect you. They created this situation,” in a comment that got 357 upvotes.

Friendlyalterme: “They have failed the brother too. Not out of malice but sometimes a residential home is okay… But I don’t blame them for being hesitant,” in a comment that got 170 upvotes.

User ersul010762 said that “[If] your father had enough strength to pull you off of your brother, he should have had enough balls to protect you and your sister [as] well. Being autistic is no reason to not have boundaries…”

User therikta, who said they have “worked for the past 10 years at schools for autistic kids aged 5-18.” The user addd: “You have every right to defend yourself,” explaining “this is the sad reality of a lot of cases” and “there is definitely some blame to put towards your parents for not intervening sooner in life, or realising that your lives were being destroyed in the process.”

Several users said the brother should be living in a group home. User Zaynara wrote: “Your parents cannot deal with or control him, he should be in a group home,” noting that “by focusing on him they’ve denied you the attention and care you need.”

Zaynara added: “You did nothing wrong and were only defending yourself…I hope you two do better and your brother gets the help he needs, and your parents recognize that they cannot help him anymore,” in a comment that got 1,800 upvotes.

User Cucumbersome55 pointed out that it is not so “easy to find a group home that will even take these kinds of violent people. They almost always refuse the violent ones– they are too much of a liability and safety issue for OTHER patients…”

The latest Reddit post highlights the need for a greater discussion on wider forms of support for crisis intervention and family services among the autism community and its unique challenges and experiences.

The Autism Society of America says: “There is a significant need for effective crisis intervention options that are widely offered, and accessible to better support the autism community.

“The Autism Society supports policies that permit those living with autism to live in inclusive, safe, accessible, and affordable communities of their choice and be provided with a comprehensive range of support and accommodations for meaningful engagement within the community,” the society said.

What To Do You if Your Child May Have Autism Spectrum Disorder

The CDC advises contacting your child’s doctor if you think your child may have ASD or you have any “other concerns about the way your child plays, learns, speaks, or acts.”

Those who are still concerned even after consulting their doctor are advised to ask for a referral to a specialist, who can carry out a more in-depth evaluation of the child.

The Autism Society of America says: “It is important to identify autism, as an accurate and early autism diagnosis can provide the basis for appropriate educational and home-based support.”

There is no single behavioral or communication test that can detect autism and there are no medical tests (i.e. blood work or brain scans) for diagnosing autism.

However, there are several autism-specific tools now being used for formal diagnosis. “An accurate medical diagnosis must be based on observation of the individual’s communication, social interaction, and their activities and interests,” the society explains.

For more information, see the websites of the CDC and the Autism Society of America.

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